What It Means To Be a Mentor

Young successful women colleagues discuss joint project, coaching or mentoring in the modern loft office.

Think back to your greatest achievements. Did you do them all by yourself? Or did you have help?

The fact is, we don’t get very far alone. Most of us need multiple sources of support to get us moving in our career. The better the support, the better the outcomes.

Mentoring can help you get promoted, earn more money, take on leadership roles, and avoid costly mistakes.

The old adage, “a wise man learns from the mistakes of others,” is reflected in mentorship. But mentors can provide more than hazard prevention — they share the unwritten guide to their success, therefore empowering your growth both personally and professionally.

Additionally, data shows that those who are fortunate enough to be mentored are 130% more likely to hold leadership positions in their careers. That’s huge!

It shows that people need other people to get to where they want to go in life. While self-reliance and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps show grit and ambition, the truth is that we don’t get very far when we don’t get support.

People who receive support tend to want to pay it forward as well — 90% of people who receive mentoring go on to become mentors themselves. Receiving and giving mentorship has a positive ripple effect that not only impacts individuals but teams and organizations.

One thing that you need to be careful about, however, is finding the right mentor. There’s a saying that when you’re ready, the teacher appears. While we might wish our perfect mentors magically appeared with sage counsel and wise words, the truth is sometimes you have to seek them out.

Mentorship Isn’t Just Training

To begin with, let’s clearly define what mentoring actually is.

Remember how we said it could be defined in more than one way? Sometimes, there can be a bit of confusion where people misuse “mentor” to identify “training.” While both mentoring and training are important to your professional development, they are not the same thing.

Training is the teaching or development of one’s skills and knowledge as they pertain to a position. It’s typically formal, can often be done in groups, and is done during onboarding or when a team member is getting ready to take on new responsibilities or a new role. The goal of training is to enable people to do their jobs effectively, efficiently, and accurately.

It’s safe to say that while training can certainly help an individual advance in their career, but the focus is more on what they can do for the company. It’s to help them work smarter, do better, go faster, and serve the needs of the organization. Of course, people take that training and experience with them in their careers, but it’s not the main focus.

Mentorship, however, is the overarching investment and support of the growth of the mentee.

The mentor takes a bird’s eye view of the mentees’ overall goals and objectives, and while they offer the nudges and encouragement everyone needs on their journey, they don’t provide the specific answers you need to get there — they guide you along the way.

Mentoring has more direct and expansive benefits to the individual, which makes mentees more equipped to take on leadership roles, develop alliances, and have confidence in their ability to call the shots. It’s also one-on-one, which means mentees get specialized attention in a generally informal setting.

If you want to attract and retain top talent at your organization, offering mentorship opportunities will work in your favor. In fact, investing in mentoring will help you build a strong team of innovative, confident leaders who solve complex problems and have a leg up on the competition.

What Does Good Mentoring Look Like?

Mentoring looks a little different for everyone, but in general, you can count on a mentor to be your cheerleader, your teacher, and your trusted sounding board when you come up against obstacles in your career.

In addition to having the right experience to effectively guide you, mentors should be skilled communicators, non-judgemental, empathetic, and able to offer constructive criticism. You want to feel encouraged and motivated, not worried or stressed when you’re talking to your mentor.

Trust and mutual respect are paramount. If you don’t feel you can bring up problems or ask questions without being judged, you probably won’t have the best mentoring experience. That’s why having a natural, comfortable connection and common ground can go a long way in making mentoring worthwhile.

You also want a mentor to act as a guide, not give you orders. They should ask questions to help you come to your own conclusions while at the same time identifying issues you may not be seeing and offering solutions.

Mentoring can involve practical knowledge, such as teaching you how to network and what to say after you get a foot in the door with someone. It can also involve bigger picture ideas, such as identifying whether a career path is aligned with what you really want and seeing other roles that might fit you better.

What it Means to Be a Mentor At Dot

Here at DotConnect, mentorship is woven into our fabric.

Our Talent Advisors see beyond the typical candidate-recruiter relationship and focus on the human element of the process, which differs greatly from recruitment agencies whose focus is on filling roles fast and making quotas.

We have a completely different approach — we slow down and take the time to coach candidates. We are fully invested in the mentee, getting to know them on a deeper level to understand their goals and aspirations.

We want to know their wants, their needs, their skills, and their areas for growth. And we help them identify and clarify goals. Our goal is to match them with their dream jobs — or as close as we can get — while giving their employers exceptionally well-prepared candidates.

From giving tips and tricks to providing support to identifying resources, we give our mentees our full attention and help them feel confident in their careers.

Plus, we love doing this. Mentoring is an opportunity to step outside of our own needs, see the bigger picture, and contribute to the well-being and happiness of others. And there’s nothing like using your hard-earned experience and life wisdom to help others achieve their dreams. It’s the satisfaction that comes from getting out of your own head and heart for a while — and we get it through mentoring.

Mentoring Starts at The Top with Dot

Our founder, Dom, is the very example of the ideal mentor to us. She’s an incredibly intelligent woman that can break down concepts and simply explain things in a way that applies to everyday life. And we wouldn’t be where we are without her guidance.

It’s because of her that DotConnect is a mission-driven company with well-defined values and a unique vision. We’re not just going through the motions — we want to see more happiness, success, and enjoyment at work and because of work for both our mentees and the organizations we staff.

Dom shows genuine care about each of her mentees as a person and loves to see them grow, succeed, and live the best life available to them. Connecting the dots between organizations and candidates is a natural outpouring of her warm and caring personality.

Being caring and supportive isn’t just a “nice to have” quality when it comes to mentoring. It’s critical to success, along with open communication, accessibility, mutual respect, trust, and role modeling.

Dom’s fundamental approach to mentorship has informed the overall culture of DotConnect. It is the model our Talent Advisors live by when working with candidates to develop and grow their existing talents.

From Mentee to Mentor

When beginning your mentorship journey, keep in mind that it’s a two-way street. As with all valuable encounters in life, it’s an experience that — when approached correctly — benefits everyone involved.

If you’re the mentee, remember that you’re developing skills to do the mentoring one day. Take note of what makes a good mentor, including what works and what doesn’t. Get everything you can out of your session.

Once you’re the mentor, you’ll be gifted the unique opportunity to reflect on yourself and everything you know. Mentorship certainly benefits you on a professional level, but it also benefits you on a personal level.

When you’re the one providing the guidance, you may get in touch with an inner-teacher you never knew you had!

How We Can Connect the Dots For You

In a competitive job market, you need all the support you can get to keep you on track with your goals. Mentorship isn’t a luxury — if you don’t have the kind of guidance it provides, you will likely have a harder time advancing in your careers.

You don’t want just any mentor. The right fit should make you feel comfortable, like you’re talking to a friend who has the scoop on how to get ahead in your field. If you need a mentor who can also connect you to your next job, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

On the other hand, if you’re looking for top talent, we have you covered. We pride ourselves in taking thoughtful, aligned actions to facilitate exceptional connections and make life easier for everyone. We’ve helped amazing businesses like Beauty Counter and Zendesk create legendary teams — find out what we can do for you!